116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
An Iowa dog breeder who admitted killing some of his unwanted dogs with stomach injections and then leaving them alone in their cages to die is among the Iowans listed in the Humane Society of the United States’ annual list of the nation’s 100 worst dog breeders.
As in years past, Iowa has the second-highest number of breeders on the list, with 17. Missouri, as is often the case, has the highest number of breeders on the list, this year with 26.
The list is compiled by the Human Society using U.S. Department of Agriculture and state inspection reports.
This year’s list does not include Daniel Gingerich, formerly of Seymour, who is no longer a licensed breeder. Last year, Gingerich relinquished ownership of hundreds of dogs after being taken to court on civil charges tied to dozens of violations of the Animal Welfare Act. Gingerich’s license was the first dog-dealer license the USDA has revoked in close to four years. He was later sentenced to 30 days in jail on misdemeanor charges of animal neglect, and was fined $60,000 in administrative penalties.
The Iowa breeders on the Humane Society’s 2022 list are:
Larry Albrecht of Coldwater Kennel in Greene: The kennel received a warning from the USDA in November 2021 for an inadequate program of veterinary care and was cited for additional issues in March. Coldwater Kennel, which keeps about 240 dogs on hand, sells to Petland and other retailers, according to federal reports. In September 2021, an inspector noted that a Maltese named Micky Boy had serious dental issues with several teeth being loose and moved easily when touched.
More issues were found when the USDA performed another inspection in March. Inspectors found nursing mothers and their puppies on dangerous wire flooring, with the puppies’ feet passing through the flooring. Other dogs were found in enclosures that had caked and moldy food in them, and one dog had no available water.
Carolyn Anderson of Anderson’s Yorkies in Mason City: This AKC breeder was cited for 34 USDA violations in less than one year, and 2022 was at least the fourth year in a row this business was cited for multiple, significant violations. There were recurring issues with giardia and coccidia — parasites that live in a dog’s intestines — as well as sick dogs and unsanitary conditions.
In a January report, the USDA inspector wrote, “The licensee states they have had numerous cases of giardia and coccidiosis in several dogs. … The licensee was not able to provide any medical records or documentation for any of the animals that have been currently or previously been diagnosed with giardia or coccidia. In addition, there was no written records to indicate that any animals were currently receiving treatment for any health issues.”
The inspection report also described an accumulation of “dust, dirt, hair, urine, excreta residue, food waste and other organic debris” and noted that many of the dogs had no clean place to eat.
Brian Felton of Centerville: During a January inspection, USDA officials found some of the dogs at Felton’s facility had no access to water, or had only frozen water. At least two dogs were exposed to freezing cold temperatures that dipped to 6 degrees below, with no way of keeping warm. “Two adult Mastiffs are housed in an outdoor enclosure which contains a wooden shelter structure,” an inspector wrote. “The shelter has no wind and rain break at the entrance.”
The inspector stated that the shelter lacked any bedding material inside and had a water bowl, but the water in it had “frozen into a solid block of ice.” On the same day, inspectors found that two enclosures, containing a total of 10 adult dogs and two puppies, had food that was “heavily contaminated with wood shavings.”
Menno Gingerich of Skyline Puppies in Albia: Skyline Puppies received a warning from the USDA earlier this year after it was determined that the owner had performed a makeshift, do-it-yourself medical procedure on an injured puppy without veterinary consultation or anesthesia. The USDA inspectors had found an injured puppy and inquired about its condition. They then learned that Gingerich had stitched up the injured puppy’s wound by himself without any veterinary oversight and reportedly without anesthesia.
Helene Hamrick of Wolf Point Kennel in Ackworth: In June 2021, this establishment was issued a warning from the USDA for failure to provide proper veterinary care. Hamrick was also cited for keeping dogs in dangerous conditions. The warning stemmed from a May 2021 inspection that found three dogs with signs of significant dental disease, with some of their teeth exposed at the roots or so inflamed they were bleeding.
During the same inspection, USDA also noted many issues with poor housing, including enclosures with sharp points that could injure the dogs, as well as an enclosure with a gap that could injure or entrap dogs. At least two empty enclosures were so decrepit that the flooring had collapsed, and many enclosures were rusty.
Bruce Hooyer of JKLM Farm / Shaggy Hill Farm in Sioux Center: Since 2018, inspectors have advised Hooyer on more than one occasion to downsize the breeding operation and retain a more manageable number of animals, but the kennel still had 135 dogs when inspectors visited in November 2021 and designated the kennel as “non-compliant.”
In August 2019, the kennel was cited for unsafe and cluttered condition, with an inspector writing, “There are too many dogs for this facility. While the dogs have enough space to lay, stand, and turn around, there is not enough room for exercise. Some primary enclosures are make-shift and quite small. The number of dogs must be reduced for this facility. During (the) last visit, it was agreed that the number of dogs for this facility should not exceed 80 … There is too much crowding in every structure.”
Jake Kruse or K&E Kennels in Salem: This breeder, who sells to Petland and other retailers, was inspected in January. At that time, the issues included four “housing facilities” violations for problems such as “sharp corner edges” and “broken metal” that could injure the dogs, and open trash containers. In addition, cleaning and sanitation issues were noted, such as “metal bucket food bowls that contain a buildup of caked food and organic material.” One feeder had “a buildup of caked food and wild bird feces on the interior of the feeder.” There were close to 300 dogs on site at the time of the inspection.
Steve Kruse of Stonehenge Kennel in West Point: This kennel, a reported affiliate of Daniel Gingerich’s former Wayne County breeding operation, has been cited for repeat violations related to ailing dogs. Since 2015, more than 55 injured or sick dogs have been noted by inspectors. Stonehenge Kennel is one of Iowa’s largest breeding operations, with 645 dogs on hand at the time of a September 2021 inspection. During a previous inspection, a USDA official found four dogs in need of veterinary care. Two of them had signs of significant dental disease, and a third had an inflamed lower leg. Inspectors said a fourth dog had “an abnormal appearance to her face” and “complete hair loss” on the bridge of the nose and additional hair loss around both eyes.
Lavern Nolt of Twin Birch in Charles City: Between September 2021 and February, USDA inspectors cited the establishment for several dogs that were in need of veterinary care, including a Maltese named Fifi that had an abnormal skin condition, an English bulldog named Maybelle that had an abnormal condition of the right eye and a Maltese named Billy that had only three remaining teeth, two of which were covered with “a thick buildup of brown colored tartar.” An inspector also reported observing three Bichon puppies’ feet falling through the holes in the flooring.
Henry Sommers of Happy Puppys in Cincinnati, Iowa: Sommers has been cited for numerous violations in recent years. Last fall, an inspector wrote, “The licensee is conducting the euthanasia of the dogs himself. The licensee stated that he is given a syringe containing a drug, which is thought to be Beuthanasia-D, from the attending veterinarian. He then injects the drug through the animal’s abdominal wall and into the stomach. He then places the dog back into its enclosure and returns later to ensure it has died. The instructions for Beuthanasia-D are to administer it as an intravenous injection which will result in rapid and painless euthanasia.” The USDA inspector then tried to determine whether the attending veterinarian had in fact approved of what the Humane Society calls “a cruel method” of euthanasia.
The inspector wrote: “A (USDA) veterinary medical officer spoke to the attending veterinarian who stated that he did not give the drug to the licensee and did not authorize euthanasia with an intra-abdominal injection.” Sommers also failed at least four state inspections between January and March.
Ken and Rhonda Van Der Zwaag of Van Der Zwaag German Shepherds in Hull: During two visits in January and February, state inspectors rated Van Der Zwaag German Shepherds as “non-compliant” due to a list of problems, one of which was related to several puppies that had apparently died with no documentation to show they had received adequate veterinary care.
During a follow-up inspection in February, the facility was again rated non-compliant, and the inspector noted that a puppy who had been treated for parvo had died recently from dehydration due to complications from parvo. “This breeder performed dealer activity by importing a litter of puppies for the purpose of resale,” an inspector reported. “Dogs imported into the state of Iowa must have a certificate of veterinary inspection. These puppies did not arrive with one.”
Dennis and Donna Van Wyk of Prairie Lane Kennel in New Sharon: On two occasions in December 2021, and again in January, officials were unable to inspect the facility. On two other occasions in that same period, inspectors were able to enter the premises and reported the housing was in disrepair. They rated the operation as “non-compliant.” At the December 2021 state inspection, inspectors noted wood flooring that was rotting or had holes in it, insulation that was “hanging down into (a) dog kennel” and damaged enclosures. There were more than 50 dogs and puppies.
Charles Vogl of SCW Frenchies in Atlantic: In November 2021, state inspectors responding to a complaint found dogs without adequate shelter in the winter cold, including a pregnant dog that was housed outdoors with no bedding and no door to the enclosure. “Currently her water is frozen solid,” the inspector wrote. “All indoor and outdoor runs are 50% to 80% covered in animal waste. … Water is frozen solid in every animal enclosure except for puppies housed inside south shed … (Dogs) observed licking ice in water buckets during inspection.”
Anita Wikstrom of Unforgettable Schnauzers in Ames: In February, Unforgettable Schnauzers was rated “non-compliant” by inspectors due to issues with clutter, trash, dirt and weeds. A month earlier, in January, it was also rated “non-compliant,” with inspectors writing that the facility was “very cluttered with trash, feces, and debris inside and outside,” and “excessive build-up of feces, dust, hair, and mud in housing facilities.” Inspectors wrote that they could hear dogs in a garage but they “could not inspect the garage for compliance with rules.”
Woody Wiley of Cantril: During a February USDA inspection, inspectors found several dogs with visible veterinary issues. One of the dogs was a female golden retriever with hair loss over half her body, another was a Bichon Frise with hair loss, another was a dog with an “open wound” on one shoulder, and a fourth was a dog that appeared to be very underweight with her ribs, backbone and hip bones visible. There were 248 dogs on site at that time.
Lloyd Yoder of Valleyview Premium Puppies in Riverside: USDA inspectors who visited Valleyview in February and March found more than a dozen violations, including unclean and unsafe conditions, two dogs that appeared emaciated and one injured dog. “Female Old English sheepdog is severely emaciated,” an inspector wrote. “The dog’s spine, ribs, shoulder blades and hip bones were protruding and easily felt beneath the hair coat with little to no fat or muscle covering the dog’s frame. Loose stool is also coating the hair beneath the dog’s tail. The dog has not been evaluated by a veterinarian and is not under treatment for the poor body condition or loose stool.”
The inspector also wrote, “The licensee is not removing the dog feces from the enclosures on a daily basis, … In several enclosures, the inspectors could not walk without stepping in feces.”
Some dogs were inside enclosures that had “poison pellets” (mouse and rat killer) strewn in them, and one dog was seen “carrying around a dead mouse in its mouth.”
Loren Yoder of Riverside: During a February USDA inspection, Yoder was cited for six violations related to housing, veterinary care and cleanliness. The inspector noted that one enclosure with five dogs in it had a plywood floor that was “buried beneath a thick layer of dirt and gravel,” and “in the enclosure, rodents have dug holes beneath the shelter and up through the plywood floor indicating that the plywood floor has most likely rotted away.”
In addition, the inspector noted: “The facility is not removing the dog feces from the enclosures on a daily basis.” The inspector also noted there were missing veterinary records.
This article first appeared in the Iowa Capital Dispatch.